Chemo brain.

Top Line: A lot of things get blamed on "chemo brain," but maybe chemo is getting a bad wrap.
The Study: First of all, the PC term is actually “cancer-related cognitive impairment” (CRCI). This helps create a safe space such that the diagnosis is blamed rather than any one individual treatment. This prospective observational study used both PC language plus a whole lotta formal neuropsych testing to assess the trajectory of CRCI in 580 women receiving chemotherapy for stage I-III breast cancer. Specifically, a battery of cognitive tests were performed on these women plus 363 matched controls at three time points: [1] before chemo, [2] right after chemo, and [3] six months after chemo. Notably, cancer patients performed significantly worse than controls at baseline (supporting cancer itself being at least partly to blame). Though there was some decline between time points [1] and [2], the most significant detriment was measured at timepoint [3]. All while cognition among the controls pretty much stayed the same. Class or sequencing of chemo didn’t seem to matter, but many of the common offenders (older age, less education, higher baseline anxiety and depression) were all associated with steeper trajectories of CRCI.
Bottom Line: There’s more to chemo brain than chemo, and it may last longer than we thought. | Janelsins, J Clin Oncol 2018


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